The University of Alabama’s annual celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation, the Edward K. Aldag, Jr. Business Plan Competition, is moving online.
“Our students, faculty and staff who are competing have been working on their ideas tirelessly for months and, in some cases, years,” said Dr. Theresa Welbourne, executive director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute. “They have put a lot of thought into their work, and we want to continue to support them.”
The student competition will now be a two-day format with the first round taking place April 14 and the final round April 15.
UA students, either as individuals or as part of a team, will compete for a grand prize of $50,000 and additional prizes worth more than $100,000. Students pitch their business ideas virtually to a panel of judges.
New for this year is a series of special awards made possible by the Alabama Power Foundation. The Alabama Power Foundation Innovative Technology Awards for students offer cash prizes totaling $10,000 ($5,000 first prize, $3,000 second prize and $2,000 third prize) for the most groundbreaking, technology-focused ideas.
Those three awards come with a scholarship for up to two members per winning team to attend the summer Crimson Entrepreneurship Academy, a learning program with individual coaching designed to sharpen entrepreneurial skills and hone business concepts. The program will also be virtual this year.
Also new this year is additional funding for innovative, technology-focused student and faculty/staff business concepts thanks to a generous contribution from the Alabama Power Foundation. UA faculty and staff can come together and learn from coaches and experts in the field while moving their ideas forward, Welbourne said.
“We are all challenged with the current pandemic, and we will come out of this stronger, inspired and more knowledgeable,” she said. “The UA innovators and entrepreneurs who are competing have the potential to create new businesses that will help contribute to strengthening our economy with jobs and growth.”
The Edward K. Aldag, Jr. Business Plan Competition is made possible with an endowed gift from Aldag, a class of 1986 Culverhouse alumnus, and the founder and CEO of Medical Properties Trust of Birmingham. Now in its fourth year, the competition has helped infuse dozens of budding companies with the resources needed to go into business.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.